Having completed the Ridge scribing, we could cut the housings that will hold up the valleys. We brought the ridges down to ground level and then cranked them back up to their final positions, under the valleys. This video shows the assemble together, at the correct elevation, ready for us to start the rafter fabrication.
Once the three valleys were cut together and positioned in space correctly, we could bring the ridges up, from underneath the valleys, to a location where we could scribe them together. Because we are matching a system that has been already cut together, meticulous care had to be taken to ensure that the elevations of the peak and the ridges will be identical.
We are now fabricating the triple common valley system. Set on “Old Glory”, the completed system will have 3 common valleys, 2 bastard valleys, 4 ridges, and myriad jack rafters. As Old Glory and two of the ridges and the bastard valleys are already together, we need to put the rest of the system together before we can cut it into the rest of the frame.
In this video, you see all three common valleys, already scribed and cut together, and sitting on their respective cribbing, in space, and prepped for the next step, which is scribing and cutting in the ridges that they sit on. As you may imagine, the 3D model in the computer is instrumental in getting these complex systems set up properly in space.
After copious checking and careful scribing, the rafters were taken down and cut, along with the eave wall plates and the ridge notches. Once that was complete, we could fly all of the rafters back up, into space, and do a final fine tune to get all of them sitting in their notches correctly. When all was said and done, we had no deviations of over 1/4″ anywhere and we were very happy with that level of precision.
Once we have flown all of the rafters up and placed them on their correct layout, it was time to scribe them down to their final positions. This is not as easy as it may sound because the tolerances we were dealing with were miniscule. Each rafter sits in a 2″ housing on the eave wall, is notched into the ridge beam, and half laps the rafter coming from the other side. The joinery at the peak has to be perfect because any deviation from perfect results in the rafters either not sitting all the way down in their notches, or the half lap shoulders will not sit tight. Also, if the half lap is cut incorrectly, then the rafter moves laterally as well, which causes the pitch to become not correct.
To achieve this perfection, we first ensured that the eave plates were at the correct elevation and that the spread between the plates was correct. We then ran a string line over the ridge peak at a height that was determined by a transit and that matched a corresponding construction line I had placed in the Sketchup model. We used this string to pull diagonals down to the eave plates to ensure that the plates were running straight and also to scribe the centerline onto the rafters which we used to layout the half laps correctly. We then used a transit to place each rafter at the correct pitch and to ensure that they all were at the same elevation.
We then checked everything a couple times, just to be sure. This video shows the rafters set in space and prepped for scribing.
Here is a ray-traced rendering of the complete Hollander house timber frame that we have designed and are currently fabricating. The model was created in SketchUp and was rendered in Cheetah3D. Even with using various techniques to minimize the rendering time for the animation, it still took our 8 core beast of a computer almost 5 days to render out the 8700 images required for the movie.
While we would have liked to have softened up the shadows for a more realistic look, as well as incorporating the sun light into the interior scenes (we used it only for the exterior scenes and faked it with a distant light for the interior), these changes would push the rendering time up towards 20 days. And that is why Pixar has multi-million dollar render farms full of top of the line servers. I read somewhere that a single frame for the latest Shrek movie (30 frames per second, 1800 frames a minute, 162,000 frames for a 90 minute movies) took 56 hours to render. That means that a 90 minute movie would take 9,072,000 hours of render time; that is a total of 378,000 days (1035 years)! No wonder they look so fantastic.
The Whitefish Lake Institute contracted us to create a 3D model of Tally lake and its surroundings, based off of tens of thousands of soundings that they took of he lake bottom. We used topo maps to create dxf vector lines for the contour intervals, lofted them into 3D with SketchUP, mapped a high res satellite image to the surrounding area, and textured the lake bathymetry. Deepest lake in Montana!
It has been my privilege to be a member of the design committee for the Whitefish Lake Institute’s Learning Center. This multi-use facility will, hopefully, provide Whitefish with not only a dynamic and interactive exhibit space, but also provide visiting scientists with a research lab. The structure itself will utilize the latest in green technologies, including green roofs, living walls, an integral green house, and the latest in materials designed to inimize impact on the environment. The building was designed by Chad Phillips, of Phillip’s architecture, and OTB Designworks created the 3D model and the animations. We look forward to working with Mike Koopal, the executive director of the Institute in the future and we are excited to start developing the exhibit concepts. The learn more about the Institute, please check out their website and they can always use more members! http://www.whitefishlake.org/
Here is the timber frame, with the bastard jack rafters installed, as seen from the man-basket of the Gradall. You can see the beginning of what will turn out to be one of the most epic winters this valley has seen, at least in the last 20 years. Lucky us